The June 15 news article “Scientists find booming recovery for gray seals” quoted Peter Krogh, my co-founder and co-director of the Nantucket, Mass.-based Seal Abatement Coalition. Nantucket is arguably ground zero for human-seal interaction resulting from the gray seal recovery.
The article asked the question “What happens after success?” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which administers the Marine Mammal Protection Act, is not celebrating the recovery of gray seals because the act protects seals and other marine mammals in perpetuity, regardless of stock status. The act does not address what happens when a marine mammal population recovers. Since the act provides neither for delisting nor managing recovered species, it would appear NOAA has little motivation to acknowledge that gray seals have demonstrably recovered, much less celebrate the gray seal “conservation success.”